a 2 i m

ALI’s Copyright Restatement Project Poses a Serious Threat to the Rights of Music Creators

Just one week ago, A2IM applauded the passage and signing of the Orrin G. Hatch Music Modernization Act (MMA), a law that will help ensure that independent music creators receive fair compensation for their work. The MMA was a significant step forward for the music industry, but today, the American Law Institute’s “Copyright Restatement” project is a reminder that we still have a long journey ahead of us.

Most of the ALI’s restatement projects are unbiased and trustworthy summaries that are useful to judges, lawmakers, and others who need to gain a quick understanding of a particular law. The Copyright Restatement project, however, is being led by copyleft lawyers who have been quite vocal in their anti-copyright sentiments and who have ties to large tech companies that would benefit from a weakening of U.S. copyright law.

Prominent individuals and organizations in the music industry have voiced concern over a usually respected organization such as the ALI appointing individuals with clearly ulterior motives to head up the Copyright Restatement project. Among the many voices calling for the ALI to suspend or vote no on the project are music mogul Irving Azoff, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), and Steve Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Prominent entertainment lawyer Dina LaPolt penned an op-ed in Billboard magazine calling out the ALI on the biased nature of the project.

A2IM CEO Richard James Burgess expressed disappointment at what he saw as “a disingenuous attempt to undermine creators’ rights by offering a ‘summary’ of the law that does not reflect copyright law’s true intention.”

“It is hard to understand why an esteemed body like the American Law Institute would risk its hard-earned reputation by supporting an obvious misrepresentation of the law in support of Big Tech’s voracious drive for greater profits at the expense of creators,” Burgess said. “At the behest of Big Tech, pseudo-academics are peddling the notion that the recorded works of musicians, songwriters, artists, producers, and engineers should be used as a loss-leader to further benefit the richest tech companies’ bottom lines.” 

The Content Creators Coalition, Songwriters of North America (SONA), and music answers have joined together to create an initiative to bring the Copyright Restatement project in its current form to a halt. To learn more, visit www.stopali.com.

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

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